Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Thief in the Night

I grew up in the Mississippi Delta, a place where your personal safety and the security of your possessions were second thought.  The door to the house was never locked, and car doors were locked, only if you ventured to the "big city".

To this day, I've never been one for locks, especially in my own driveway, thinking why lock the door, when a thief is just gonna knock out your window to get what he's after.  I do lock up when parked away from the house, just as a small deterant to " walk by " thievery.

Yesterday I was headed to Clinton to do some assembly work at Home Depot.  Backing up, I noticed that the hatchback light came on.  Sometimes the door doesn't get shut all the way.  No biggie, I just hopped out and re-shut it.  I also stopped at the local Kroger to fill up my tank.  It wasn't til I reached my final destination, to find I had been violated during the night.  I parked my car, got a shopping cart to my tools, and then opened the hatch.  My first look, something looks strange.....

My rolling tool bag was gone.  Work table, and everything else was there.  Son of a bitch!  Got assembly work to do, a big day, and no tools!

Apparently, during the night, some lowlife cruised several neighborhoods looking for treasures.  My car has tinted windows, so nothing is exposed to the onlooker, especially at night.  They came looking for cars that are unlocked.  Bingo!  Tool bag!  Awesome find!  My unlucky day.

I called the spousal unit and told her my misfortune.  She placed a call to the Rankin County Sheriff's office for me, since I was in Clinton.

The Deputy took down all the vital info he needed,  since I had already made my initial repurchase of tools I needed for the day, I had a very good idea of the cost of the items stolen.  I've already exceeded $400 to replace tools, just to do my work for the day.

It appears that the tools are gone forever.  According to the Deputy, these crackheads don't bother going to pawn shops anymore.  They are easily profiled, so to avoid detection, they just sell the stuff on the street for their quick fix for the day.  If somehow they are caught before they dispose of the bounty, this would be the only chance for recovery.

Before the Deputy left, he mentioned that there was another theft in my neighborhood, so far.  The case file would remain open for a while, because it is a certainty, there will be more.

I was a bit disappointed that the thief didn't come back for more tools.  I've got a nail gun that I wanted to introduce him to.  The only comfort that I can find in this, is the Sheriff Department is out there, trying to keep me and the other residents of Rankin County safe.

I hope that the thief got a good price for my stuff so that he could have enough money for a really good fix.  I take pleasure in the thought that the theft of my tools have in some way contributed to the distruction of this guy's internal organs and most likely, an early grave.

It is now official, my doors will always be locked, and my garage door will be down. (Son's expensive road bike disappeared a year ago, off the wall, in the corner, out of sight, from passerby's.). I have been violated, and things will never be the same, what a shame.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fall Ball 2014, That's a Wrap!

Well, except for conference champions and bowl games, the 2014 season has come to an end. Its been quite a year, with both teams exceeding initial expectations.  Both will be receiving their rewards for a job well done with a New Years holiday trip to some place warm, whether its outside or in a cozy dome.  For that, all fans should be excited and grateful.

For my household, its been a tiring but exciting journey.  Trips together to Starkville and Oxford and a couple of "divorced" weekends where we went our separate ways to support our respective teams.

The atmosphere on both campuses has been electric.  Tailgating at its best, with all the colors, smells and sounds that just pull you end.  Visits by both ESPN Game Day, and SEC Nation to both campuses just added to the excitement.

Seeing both stadiums full to capacity and the noise levels deafening just sends tingles up and down your spine.  The roars of "Hotty Toddy" and "HailState" have never been louder!  The sounds of clanging cowbells are still ringing in my ears!

The Spousal unit and I shared extended weekends on both campuses this year.  We both took in our first "Cowbell Yell” where we learned to " ring responsibly" and how to do the school cheers.  My birthday weekend was spent on the Square in Oxford on a Friday night, taking in some awesome meals and visiting with friends who spotted us from a balcony.  Old times come back like it was yesterday when you are with the right people.

Game days are like no other.  Tents are set up in school colors.  TVs are setup with satellite hookups to the latest game on the air and neighbors are openly invited to join the viewing.  Every imaginable thing to eat is there, all you need is the appetite, "come on in and have a plate"!

You meet up with friends, old and new.  You share stories of games past, brag on your kids, and say " boy, things sure have changed since I was here!". Soon, its game time, and its off to the stadium you go.

The games are now over and the clock is at zero for the last time.  Its time to put away all the tailgating gear.  Tents, tables, chairs and decor off to storage. Table linens, Chafing dishes are put away, and recipes are sorted and filed away, some are always a favorite, some never to return.

Its funny to see the evolution of tailgating.  First, it was out of the trunk of the car, with a blanket and card table or two.  Then the portable affordable tent arrived, along with the bag chair.  Suddenly ice chests had wheels.  Then, small quiet generators found their way, with satellite dishes and flat screen TVs not far behind.  With the arrival of restricted parking, now its the foldable collapsable little red and blue wagons in tow, loaded down with all the supplies and goodies for the day!  Its got me wondering, OK, what's going to be the next big thing in tailgating.

Me, I'm glad its over, time to recharge.  Now we've got eight month of planning to do it all over again.  Hotty Toddy and #hailstate!  See you next fall!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

BWW in the Smokies

Vaca in the Smokies, can't wait to get there.  First I20, then I59, with a short ride on I24, and I75 to finally I40.  I felt like I was touring the country on top of Lookout mountain on this trip.  Traveled Mississippi, then Alabama, before we hit a slice of Georgia before entering Tennessee!  Those Georgia folks must feel like they're cut off from the rest of the State sitting up in this northwest corner  all boxed in.

Once you leave the interstate, you are welcomed by the sights of the Smokies!  Saw the biggest snow flakes I'd ever seen!  Of course, they were mounted on all of the light poles.  As we made our way, the path was glowing from all the other decorative lighting that had already been put out to welcome the tourists to the winter season in the Smokies!

All checked in to our condo for the remainder of the week, it was getting late, and our dining choices were a bit limited.   All voted for a wing stop a BWW just up the road.

As we entered, we discovered that the nightly round of trivia had just concluded.  At this late hour, we had our choice of seating.  We had the waitress's full attention since there was only one other group.

She began to take our drink order, and the fun began!  Son#1 wanted a beer, but took forever to decide.  Seems the bar was loaded with craft beer on tap.  He made his selection, but was curious about some of the others. After some young people small talk about music, bands, and tattoos, The waitress suggested that he try a sample.  OK!  She brought a small tasting glass, half full of beer and half full of head.  After a sip, she asked if he wanted to sample another?  This got me to thinking...

Kiddingly, I asked if a person could have a sample of every craft beer that she had on tap. She wrinkled her forehead a bit, looked around the restaurant a bit, then said "today is your lucky day!". Let the tasting begin!  I had one, the spousal unit and girly friend took a sip or two out of several, and son#1 was in beer heaven.  Most of these craft beers are a bit too much for me so I stuck with my unsweet tea.

We got to the menu, and it was total confusion.  There were way too many sauces to choose from.  With my stomach these days, I had to stick with just medium and honey BBQ.  The confusing thing, was the units were in " snack, small, medium, and large".  We told the waitress, obviously, it had been a while since we had been in BWW.  What happened to ordering in units of twelve?  She said it is now in increments of 5.  Snack 5, small 10, medium 15, large 20.  Must be some of that new fangled common core math!

We enjoyed our meal, the beer sampling was fantastic, and the waitress was all smiles from the big tip.  As we left, she gave us a shout out "I'm here tomorrow night too!". Just might take her up on it!

Trucker's Paradise on the way to the Smokies!

The vaca to the Smokey Mountains starts out with an eight hour car ride.  Its practically all interstate, so there isn't much to entertain yourself along the way, except the stops in between.

Made it past Meridian and into Alabama at the second exit, to the Love Truck Center, this the first of several gravity breaks.  It was a truck stop that was humming with this activity, tire shop was taking care of some blow outs, the truck wash was blasting the crud away, the sleeper lot was full of truckers snoring the morning away.  The pumps were busy topping off the outgoing rigs, and as I got out of the car, I got to wondering what awaited us inside?

When you entered the station you were welcomed by a little old crusty women yelling "welcome to Love's!". The rest room was buzzing with truckers washing hands and faces, getting ready to continue their trek.  For some, the cold water was a wakeup call for the road ahead.  For others, it was an attempt to revive those wrinkled, road weary faces that still had a few more miles to travel.

As I paid for my diet dew and snicker, the little old lady continued to yell " welcome to Love's!". You could tell from a close look at her that she had a few stories in her.  She was or had been a heavy smoker in her day.  I noticed a lot of small tattoos up both her arms, wondering what stories they could tell.  She yelled "welcome to Love's" again as more customers came and went.  I couldn't resist.  I had to ask.  "Is this where the Love Train ends or begins?". She burst into laughter, and said " oh thank you sweetie!  The stories I could tell you!". "Welcome to Love's!". With that we were on our way!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Holiday Traditions of Years Past

As the holiday season comes upon us, i got to thinking about some of the things we did growing up:

1.  Annual trip for the tree.  Most people would pack up and head to the Christmas tree lot to pick out a winner.  Not us, we'd load up and head to Yazoo City for the day to pick up a tree that had already been picked out for us by an uncle, on my Dad's side, that we would only see 1-2 times a year.  This process went on for years.  Then, one year, my mom said, since you have your drivers license, why don't you take your brother and sister and go pick up a tree.  What???  Oh, wow!  Best tree picking trip ever!

With my boys, we would go down to the fairgrounds to pick our a tree.  We fell in love with the Frasier fur.  The needles were soft, and they stayed on the tree the longest.  The last one was bought, put in the tree, and nobody got excited about decorating it, so there it sat for a day or two.

 Next year we got an artificial, pre-strung with a million white lights.  We have had to pull the lights off it since most of the strings have burned out.  The spousal unit has been bringing in our adopted daughter to trim it out the last few years, till she went off to college.  Last year the boys and one girly friend trimmed it.  Wonder what this new season will bring???

2.  Timber!  Back in the old days the only type of tree we knew about was a scotch pine.  They all looked so pretty once you got them all decorated.  The tree farmers back then would play tricks on you.  The best looking trees had trunks so crooked, no ordinary tree stand could hold them!  Had one tree that fell over three times before we secured it to the wall.

3.  When the boys were little, I would bake gingerbread men and add icing to make them look just right.  Their classes at school were rather large, so it became quite a production.  As they got older, they both would give me that look, "no, Dad, not again, I'm not going to be seen carrying gingerbread men into school.  One day, those gingerbread men will arise again, get ready grand kids!

4.  We started this Santa collection as a young married couple.  Over the years the collection grew and grew.  Last year they didn't make it out of the box.  OK boys, something else for you to take over.

5.  Gail Pittman used to make gift buying real easy.  She had a Christmas pattern where the center of the plate would have a different theme.  She would also make a tree ornament with the same design.  She also started a tree ornament series designed around the " twelve days of Christmas".  We have enough Gail Pittman ornaments to cover a tree!  All good things come and go,  Gail's ornament factory is no more....

6.  Luminaries.  My parent's home town of Inverness has an annual tradition of putting out luminaries on Christmas Eve.  You fold down the edges of paper bags, add sand in the bottom, then add a lit candle.  The effect is a beautiful glow along the bayou.  If you're ever in the area, give it a drive by.

We did this in our neighborhood when the boys were small.  Now everybody is too busy.

7.  Turkey frying.  My Dad was a big fan of Justin Wilson, an outdoor cook that could do amazing things with a stove and a deep fryer.  He started frying whole turkeys before it became popular.  My Dad took up the trade and was frying a dozen birds before he scaled his cooking back.  I did it for a few years, then began smoking them covered in Tony C's!  Best bird ever!

8.  Desserts.  My Dad is big on ambrosia.  Oranges, coconut, and pineapple.  Put a scoop or two of this on a slice of coconut cake, OMG!  Occasionally I make some, but nobody enjoys it like I do.

9.  My grandmother Weems was the best cook I ever met.  She worked in the school cafeteria and would have me special treats when I made my way through.  Her homemade rolls were the best.  My sister has taken over the task of making these for the holidays.  Nothing like a slice of honey baked  ham on a homemade roll!

10.  Each Christmas Eve, we would attend the candlelight service at our church.

The first year, as a young married couple, we decided to go our to dinner afterwards.  Jackson is a big town, right?  As we made our way to restaurant row, all the eateries were shutting down.  Ended up at the Krystal on State Street!

Another year, we were in our usual spot on our pew.  A friend with big hair was two rows in front of us.  Son #1 was playing with a rubber band he had with him.  He then found a pencil.  Next thing I know, a pencil goes flying through the air, and it lands in the middle of that big ole head of hair.  We laughed about that many years afterward!

Just a few of my favorite memories.  If you've gottem, share!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Nurse Dogs

Yesterday afternoon I felt it coming on.  I felt a little warm.  Then the chills and the shakes hit.  Even though I had not eaten much all day, my stomach had this bloated feeling.

Spousal unit was out of town on a work related trip.  Son #1's girly friend, a nurse, was at work doing her all nighter.  So, who was gonna step up and nurse me back to health?

Never fear, when three dogs are near!

I decided to ease my discomfort with a soaker in the spa tub.  Otis immediately took charge, and took first watch, by climbing and the back of the tub.  He stuck by me the whole time.  The warm water was very soothing to my chilled bones.  It stopped the shakes in no time.

As I was making my way out of the tub, I lot my grip.  Splash!  Water everywhere.  Within seconds, Oscar and Henry appeared, WTH daddyo???  Used a different approach, and I was out of the tub, dried off, but the aches and chills were still there.  Temperature time, 100.9.  Took some Alieve, and decided to go to bed.  It was only 8:00,  gonna be a long night....

I crawled into my spot on our king sized bed.  I was immediately joined by my three nurse dogs, Oscar, Otis, and Henry.  Throughout the night I kept searching for that comfortable spot.  My best efforts were pretty much useless.  Those three dogs had me hemmed in.  Every time I attempted to move, they either held their ground or moved right along with me.  I was in no mood for additional body heat.  I knew that there had to be a cool spot on that bed somewhere!

There is a country song "sleeping single in a double bed".  Well these three nurse dogs had me trying to sleep, single in a king sized bed!

The night passed slowly.  Eventually the sun started to show itself, and Henry was ready for their early morning ritual.  All done, I rewarded my nursing staff with a rawhide the eat for each.

Usually these three are at each other, arguing, and fighting over a toy or two.  But last night, it was all about taking care of me.  Best nursing care I've ever had!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

On this Morning After

Long day spent in Starkville with the round trip ending around 2:30.  After waking up, and reflecting on the day, I've ended up with a list of thangs that I am truly grateful for:

1.  Highway 25.  Straight shot to Starkville, with only two red lights to work through.  Was sure wanting a Diet Dew for the road home though,  the two stores close before midnight :-(

2.  Strong bladders.  Cousin Linda made the trip with me and she held out until we got to Starkville!

3.  Man cub and his hot chili recipe.  His concoction kept these old bones warm!

4. My Coleman gas fired slow cooker.  That thang kept that chili warm all day, and heated up the leftovers lickity split!

5.  Tent sidewalls.  On this cold day, that wind would cut through you like a knife.

6.  Neighbors.  The smells of ribs cooking and the DJ playing kept us entertained all day.  I'll never understand how they make babies while listening to all that crazy music!

7.  Heaters.  Those two little fellers kept me nice and toasty.  Yep, they'll be making a trip to the Egg Bowl for sure!

8.  New battery backup.  Had a full charge all day.  Beach trips in 2015, look out!

9.  North end zone addition.  Kept that wind from cutting me in two!

10.  padded chair back seats.  Good for the tush, and  keeps the neighbors in check.

11.  Made in the USA cowbells.  Them Chinese ripoffs are easy to spot, the clangers sound awful.  Poor kid next to me just put his down after a Chinese clang or two.  Not sure if he even took it home with him!

12. Thankful the punt fumble guy only had one shot at it last night.  Sorry kid, I just hope you are done for the season....

13.  Two jumbotrons.  Old habits are hard to break, eventually I'll remember to look at the new one!

14.  Man cub's disc golf buddies.  Thanks guys for sticking around for the tent take down.  Life saver for sure!

15.  Little grey wagon.  amazing what you can strap down on that sucker with a few bungie cords!

16.  Oscar and Otis.  Had quite a welcome home when I walked through the door!

17.  Daylight savings time.  Waking up and its still morning, awesome!

18.  My bed.  There is just something about climbing into your own warm bed in the wee hours of the night.

19.  The W.  It was ugly, bur we'll take it!

20.  Readers like you.  Gives me reason to continue the blog.

Til next time!